This week, I’m going to address the issue of the “starter resumé.” Even beginners need a resumé, but what do you put on one when you haven’t done anything yet? This email from the parent of two kid actors is what set up this week’s topic.
I really like your articles… very helpful! I am the mom of two girls ages 7 and 8 who have an agent but have not done anything yet. They have both been to a handful of auditions and I was wondering what their resumé should look like when they have not done anything. The only thing they have done is classes and they are ongoing. I’m afraid that if all they have are classes and no credits… what??? Well, I don’t want to give up before they have even gotten to do a commercial or print work. I guess my question is: What should a newcomer/child resumé look like? Thanks.
Okay, so, the first point I want to make is that EVERYONE starts somewhere and NO ONE was born with a packed resumé, so I applaud those of you out there who do not fear the white space, when putting together a first resumé. No one on the receiving end of a kid’s resumé wants to see all sorts of marginally-acceptable or totally non-standard credits crammed in, just to try and make it seem like the kiddo has more on-set experience than he or she may have.
Especially when an actor is young (and that means for the actor’s first quarter-century, really), white space on a resumé is a GOOD thing. It shows us that you’re young! That you’re just getting started! That you’re fresh and new and someone ready to break out, if just given the chance!
Sure, you want to include items on the resumé that show us the risk is less if we bring you in, because you have been training and you have been working on your craft and you have been on a set or stage before, but when I see a young actor’s resumé that includes pageant experience, modeling, voiceover, dance recitals, singing competitions, AND acting, I see a hobbyist, not an actor. I see a good kid with lots of interests and no dedicated focus on the craft of acting itself. Or worse, I see a parent with such desperate need to be sure his or her precious child “makes it” that the parent will overload the child (and the resumé) with activities anywhere close to acting, because slinging enough spaghetti against the wall surely means something’s gonna stick.
“But wait, Bon!” you scream. “My angel DOES do all of those things! How dare you tell me those other activities — at which she has excelled — don’t go on her acting resumé?” Easy. They don’t.
Remember what I’ve said about specialists, before. Especially if your kid actor is pursuing several tracks in the entertainment industry, segmenting resumés and submitting the one best suited for the specific opportunity you’re now facing becomes crucial. Most casting directors won’t need to see your child’s pageant wins (and may even be creeped out by them), just like most competitive singing judges wouldn’t be too impressed with a huge print modeling campaign.
Segment. Specialize. Have resumés you use for each faction of the pursuit your child is on. And hint at the other components of your child’s life using the Special Skills section of the resumé, where we know to look if we want to learn more about the big picture of your child’s life and interests.
I know there are lots of resumé templates out there, but I decided to create three for y’all. Yay! 🙂 I’ve posted them in Word and also in PDF, so you can see what they’re supposed to look like, should our versions of Word not be compatible. [NOTE: I have shared a ridiculous amount of information over the years about definitions of billing, Quick Fixes, what to include in Special Skills, critiques of real resumés, and how to perform Resumé Feng Shui. Please, before shooting me questions about specific sections of the downloads, re-read those columns. Thanks!]
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Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001369.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.